You do not need this cockpit.
I can’t imagine a world in which I would spend $440 on bars and a stem. Even If I were building a high-budget bike from scratch, or looking for a flashy cockpit to replace a stock one, the Enve DH Bar and Mountain Stem combo is about $200 more than I’d be willing to spend.
So how’d I end up with this gaudy setup on my bike? And, knowing how I feel about it, why am I reviewing it?
Enve sent us a cockpit awhile back, and I eyed it jealously, and even considered giving it a try until I saw the bars had already been cut too narrow for my liking. But soon it was that lusty time of year when us lucky editors at Bike get to choose parts for a Dream Build.
I immediately felt the urge to go with the Enve setup, even though it uses the supposedly outdated 31.8-millimeter clamp diameter. But it seemed overly extravagant, even for a Dream Build, so I tried to repress my desire and looked for another, more reasonable choice. I had about as much luck with that as I do keeping myself from gorging on barbeque chips, and then chocolate in various forms, and then more barbeque chips before bed every night.
So the Enve stuff wound up on my Ibis Ripley Dream Build.
I chose the DH bar so I could cut it to my preferred width of 770 millimeters, and matched it to the Ogden, Utah, brand’s Mountain Stem in a 40 millimeter length.
The outrageous cost of this cockpit is mostly due to the stem, which rings in at $265. It costs that much because, in addition to having been manufactured in Utah, it’s made of carbon and has titanium hardware. And that means it weighs only 85 grams.
Combine that with the DH bar, and you’ve got a cockpit weighing in at about 320 grams. That’s light, but not that light. For example, Chromag’s Cutlass bars, paired with a Ranger V2 stem, come in at about 370 grams. That’s a difference of a tenth of a pound, or in other words, not enough to justify an extra $220.
But, as I said, it’s complicated.
Of all the fancy bits and bobs on my Dream Build–of which there are many–it’s the cockpit that I just keep on admiring. These are hands down the most elegant controls I’ve ever handled, and not just because of how they look. Compared to any carbon bar/alloy stem combo I’ve ridden, the Enve cockpit provides a susceptibly improved kind of damping, and yet doesn’t feel any less predictable or precise when speed and hard hits come into play.
Actually, the only time I felt the need to be gentle with the Enve stuff was when the bike wasn’t moving. Though it looks like the threads are tapped directly into the carbon stem, there are in fact metal inserts. Still, I was careful to use a torque wrench whenever making adjustments.
There’s nothing special about the bars’ shape, with a standard 5-degree upsweep and a 9-degree backsweep. I rode the 23-millimeter-rise version, and am perfectly happy with those specs. Bar shape is a personal preference, and the markings on the clamp zone assist with centering and finding a comfortable roll. Cut lines in 1-centimeter increments ease the nerve-racking cutting process.
Again, you do not need this cockpit. I do not need this cockpit. For all intents and purposes, the benefits pale in comparison to the cost. But as a man named Ferris said on his day off, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
$175 (Bars), $265 (Stem) / enve.com